The Rwandan Air Force will in the next eighteen months take delivery of two Cessna Caravan aircraft, which will be used for medical evacuation and other tasks.
In September 2019 the United States issued a draft request for proposals (RFP) for the acquisition of medical evacuation (medevac) aircraft for Rwanda and on 24 June this year the Department of Defence announced that ATI Engineering Services of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, had been awarded a $10 million contract for Rwanda’s Grand Caravan EX acquisition.
“This contract provides the procurement of two Textron C-208 EX aircraft, associated spare parts and ground support equipment, the necessary modifications for the Rwandan Air Force, flight training device, technical drawings and interim logistic support for both aircraft and the training device,” the Department of Defence said.
Work will be performed in Johnstown, Pennsylvania; Rockford, Illinois; and Kigali Air Force Base, Rwanda, and is expected to be completed by 31 July 2022. “This contract involves Foreign Military Sales to Rwanda and is the result of a competitive acquisition with two offers received. Fiscal 2016 Peacekeeping Operations Overseas Contingency Operations funds in the amount of $9 030 923 is being obligated at the time of award.”
In its September 2019 RFP, the Department of Defence called for delivery of the first aircraft no later than June 2021, with the contract terminating in July 2022.
In September 2018 the US Air Force first announced that Rwanda was to receive two new aircraft for medical evacuation and light transport, primarily during United Nations international peacekeeping operations in the Central African Republic, Sudan and South Sudan. Rwanda’s first peacekeeping contribution was to Sudan (Unamid) in 2005. According to the United Nations, Rwanda contributes more than 6 500 military and police officers to UN peacekeeping missions, including Unmiss (South Sudan), Minusca (Central African Republic), Unamid, Minujusth (United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti) and Unisfa (United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei).
The Rwandan Air Force has acquired few new aircraft in the last decade, having only upgraded some of its Mi-17s. Its most numerous type is the Mi-17, with more than 20 in service – some of these have been deployed with the United Nations in South Sudan (one crashed there in March 2019). Other types in service include several SA 342 Gazelles and half a dozen Mi-24 helicopters. The Rwandan government flies a single A109 and AW139 helicopter and a G550 business jet.